While Congress has yet to convene in a joint session on Wednesday, Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III has already predicted the approval of the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao being sought by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“In the House alone, pasado na po. Just looking on the votes in the House although hindi pa natin nakikita yung voting sa House,” Pimentel told reporters on Tuesday.
(It has already passed the House, although the House voting is not yet seen.)
The Senate leader was referring to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, staunch ally of the Duterte administration.
Asked if he thinks the one-year extension was already enough to address the problems in Mindanao, Pimentel said: “Better one year, than five years. Because of the mechanism na extendible…”
Pimentel reiterated his support for the martial law extension in Mindanao, convinced that there were enough grounds to extend martial law for another year.
“Yes, there’s rebellion on the ground and then public safety requires it and in their assessment, kasi ito medyo subjective dyan (because it’s subjective), they need a year to address the root causes of rebellion pero walang sure dun (but it’s not yet sure). Walang makakasabi na ekasakto yung one year o kulang yung one year. But yang period kasi is trial and error (No one can say exactly if one year or one year is not enough. But that period is trial and error),” he said.
The siege in Marawi City by the terrorist Maute group, he said, was proof that there was rebellion in Mindanao but the threats continued with the presence of other rebel groups in the region.
“Hindi kailangan ng siege. The Revised Penal Code does not require that the rebellion is only through siege of a city,” Pimentel said when asked about the opposition’s argument that martial law declaration requires the presence of actual uprising.
But he said whatever Congress decides on the request for the martial law extension could be raised before the Supreme Court.